Setting up promotional relationships with likeminded organisations for mutual benefit.


Your organisation may benefit from linking up with other websites that offer products or services that relate to your own. Creating a partner relationship where one website generates traffic to the other in exchange for payment is called affiliate marketing.

In a typical affiliate program, website owners display advertising provided by organisations like other online businesses, direct marketing companies or large corporations.

Examples of potential affiliate marketing relationships are:


  • A retailer selling garden furniture may offer advertising space on its site for a garden centre.
  • An environmental organisation may offer advertising space on its site for a retailer of rainwater tanks.

DigitalIQ tips

Learn the lingo

In the affiliate marketing industry, the following terms are used:


  • ‘Publisher’ or ‘affiliate’—the website owner displaying the advertising.
  • ‘Merchant’, ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’—the organisation being advertised.
  • ‘Network’—the affiliate network that brings together publishers and merchants. (You do not necessarily have to use an affiliate network.)

Benefits of affiliate marketing

Possible benefits of affiliate marketing include:


  • As a website owner (or ‘publisher’), you may be able to generate revenue without ongoing work.
  • As an advertiser (or ‘merchant’), you can advertise on a large number of websites and only pay money when they get you new customers. This is because you generally only have to pay for the advertising if users click on your ad.

Finding affiliate partners

The affiliate program market has grown to the point where there are now a number of third parties that may help you find appropriate organisations with which to partner.

Of course, you could approach potential partners directly as well.

Using affiliate networks

There are specific affiliate networks that bring together publishers and merchants, and manage the transaction between the two. These companies typically charge either a flat rate or charge a percentage of each sale, lead or registration.

Examples of affiliate networks are:

external linkAmazon Associates

external linkCommission Junction

external linkGoogle Affiliate Network

Using affiliate program directories

If you are a merchant seeking a publisher, you may want to get listed in an affiliate marketing program directory. Likewise, if you are a publisher, you can search these directories for merchants with an offering relevant to your organisation.

These directories provide information about merchants that may be useful for potential publishers. This information may include:


  • The payment model.
  • The rate that you will be paid.
  • Payment terms.
  • What payment methods are available.
  • Information about the  cookies involved in the process.
  • Special bonuses or incentives.

Examples of these directories are:



external linkAffiliate Tracking Network

DigitalIQ tips

Australian partners

If you are searching an affiliate program directory for potential advertisers (or merchants) to put on your website, you may be able find more Australian advertisers by adding ‘Australia’ to your search terms.

Approaching affiliate partners directly

One of the most straightforward ways to set up an affiliate marketing relationship is to simply contact an organisation directly. A benefit of this is that you do not need to pay an intermediary body like an affiliate network.

Some organisations have created a set of processes which are intended to make starting an affiliate relationship easier. To see if your potential affiliate partner has a set of processes in place, search their website for a section with a name like:

  • Affiliate program.
  • Affiliates.
  • Associate program.
  • Webmasters.

You can often find this information in the footer or the ‘About’ section of the website.